Pitch work under way at Staplewood

By SFC Media Fri 26 May Club
Photo by Matt Watson

The season has finished, but for Southampton's grounds staff, the end of the campaign actually signals the busiest time of year.

As the players depart Staplewood Campus for the summer, the team that looks after the pitches steps up the work for renovating them ahead of the squad returning for pre-season.

Head Groundsman Graeme Mills gave us an insight into the amount of work that is going on at the club's training base.

"This is the busiest time of year for us," he said. "All the vegetation gets removed from all the pitches, all the pitches also get top-dressed, lots of holes are punched into them and they're reseeded to go again for the next season.

"The aim is for the pitches to be consistent all the way through the club and to keep it the same as the stadium.

"We take a lot of pride in it. The lads are here working late to get all these pitches done, so they're going above and beyond."

the work we do now helps out through the winter months next year.

graeme mills
head groundsman

With five full-size pitches, four smaller ones and two full-size 3G surfaces, there is plenty for the grounds staff to maintain, and they plan their renovation work to ensure there is always at least one pitch available over the summer in case any players are in for rehabilitation work.

"We try to structure it in a way that there's always grass available for people to train on," said Mills. "One of the pitches was taken out going on six weeks ago now, so that one will be in use from next week for any rehabilitation work through the summer."

While the pitches looked in excellent condition at the end of the season, Mills explained how it is vital they still carry out the renovation work.

"A lot of people look at the grass and say 'Why are you doing it?' because it's lovely and green at the end of the year, but if we don't do it then the pitches won't be like that at the end of the following season," he said.

"Basically, it's to remove any weed grasses and any algae that's built up on the top, so the pitches free draining for the following winter. All of the work we do now is basically to help out through the winter months next year."

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